Amy’s Serious Games for Serious Healthcare

Do you trust your healthcare professionals are providing you with optimal care? Are you safe? Do you feel comfortable knowing that 1.7 medical errors occur each day in the ICU, and many critically ill patients suffer a potentially life-threatening error at some point during their stay (Camiré et al., 2009)? The most frequent errors in healthcare are errors in the dose, wrong rate, wrong preparation technique, physicochemical incompatibility, wrong administration technique and wrong time (Camiré et al., 2009). 

Computerized health records and order entry can alleviate many of these issues, which is the focus of Calgary-based Patient Care Information Systems. But don’t get too comfortable with the idea of e-records. Errors still occur as e-record applications are operated by humans and regardless of how well an application functions, the application is only as good as the person operating it.

There is a solution! An online simulation game environment that permits clinical staff to practise using the applications in a safe environment that will increase efficiency and skills once users have access to real patient records.

Join the initiative to make healthcare safer and more accountable.

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(Please note that the audio is set quite high, so you might want to adjust the volume. As well, I acknowledge that this video is longer than 30 minutes. However, this is only because I could not add my own audio and I had to use AT&T’s text to speech demo. I was able to read it much quicker that the computerized voice can, plus I sounded better. Unfortunately, I have learned not to leave my mic where my kids can access it. Lesson learned.)


Here is the full pitch:

November 29, 2009   24 Comments

e-PIKE cubed

e-PIKE™, created by Advanced Integrity Solutions Ltd. (Calgary), is an innovative learning management system (LMS) designed to meet the needs of locations with limited bandwidth connections to the internet. One of their goals is to reach remote communities in developing nations in Africa. The Internet information on this product is very limited. It is very new (March 2009), so I am sure that if it is successful, it might be something we hear about soon.

 Face 1: Market Focus

e-Pike could be purchased by any number of groups considering it is an LMS and authoring software. However, the information provided online leads me to believe that AIS is marketing to corporate groups and governments. Since this infrastructure costs money, businesses and governments must find a way to finance this technology.

The e-Pike information sheet states:

“Applications for this technology include:

• Businesses with remote field training needs (oil and gas, construction)

• Government organizations maintaining remote offices

• Reaching remote communities in developing nations in Africa

• Supporting humanitarian missions abroad

• Allowing countries to rebuild faster from conflict or disaster”


Face 2: Types of Offerings

e-Pike is offering infrastructure only. The fact sheet states: “The e-PIKE™ core uses proven learning management software from the open source community.  With millions of users world-wide this software is fully SCORM 1.2 compliant allowing for e-Learning professionals to upload their course content with confidence of delivering a rich environment for students to focus on their studies. (”


Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Although this infrastructure has been developed for developing nations and remote training field needs, it costs money to have it. I am sure AIS is expecting governments and businesses to purchase this product.  For this reason, I would suggest the learning is bought centrally by corporations and developing regions.


Face 4 – Global Markets

 e-Pike was developed for remote areas and Africa – both areas with no or poor quality Internet service. This is a fairly new technology (released in March 2009), so I am not sure if this technology is actually being used in Africa yet. The company has not declared this technology for any other developing nations, and Africa is a very large and diverse continent, so it will be interesting to see where this product goes in the next few years.


Face 5 – Development of the Market

The remote areas, especially remote areas in Africa, do not support learning technologies. In fact, many of these areas do not even have access to basic radio technology or desks and chairs. As well, even if the infrastructure becomes available, local teaching resources most likely won’t be. Lundell and Howell (2000, as cited in Butcher, 2003) suggest insufficient funding; a lack of computers and other resources; a lack of computer literacy among teachers; and the absence of established curricula for teaching computer skills are hindering schools from using computers for learning. In addition, even schools that have a computer rarely have access to the Internet. In Ethiopia, “nine of the 12,000 primary schools had Internet access at the end of 2001, and ten of the 424 secondary schools (Butcher, 2003, p. 61).” 


Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

 In remote areas of Africa, existing learning solutions are not working.  Many children do not have access to basic classrooms, books, and teachers. Literacy levels are low, as well as limited technology exposure. In 1960, Sub Saharan African governments dedicated themselves to providing primary education for children and by the 1990’s, those countries implemented Education for All (EFA). Suprisingly, by 2001, “over 45 million children of primary school age in the region, almost 42 percent, were not enrolled in school (Zhang, 2006, p.581).”



Overall, I believe that of intent for this project is positive; however, without someone to develop the content and provide the technical support, I have a hard time expecting this project will be successful. Africa is such a challenging and diverse place to market e-learning. In ETEC 511, I had the opportunity to research education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprisingly, the level of technology present in Africa is considerably low compared to developed countries. Extension technologies, such as radios and televisions have spread throughout Africa more so than computer technology (2001, In addition, neither technology requires the ability to read and write which allows individuals to receive information easily. However, there is still great disparity within each country. In 2001, of the 818 million people in Africa, only 1 in 4 had a radio, 1 in thirteen had a television, 1 in forty had a landline telephone, 1 in 130 had a personal computer, and 1 in 160 used the Internet (Butcher, 2003, p.68).  Along with infrastructure and resource issues, there are issues with cultural perceptions of Western technology and education. There are many challenges involved that might not be answered by e-Pike.



Butcher, N. (2003). Technological infrastructure and use of ICT in education in Africa: an overview. Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). Retrieved on October 7, 2007


Zhang, Y. (2006). Urban-Rural Literacy Gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Roles of Socioeconomic Status and School Quality. Comparative Education Review,  50 (4), 581 – 602.

September 29, 2009   7 Comments

Adobe Captivate Cubed

I use Adobe Captivate at work, and it is an easy tool to use to capture application and web simulations. I couldn’t find too much information in my Internet search, so I have had to rely on my own experience through this analysis.

Face 1. Market

The way this software is developed makes it an easy tool to develop training material. The ability to capture screenshots and video sceen movement permits the training developer to capture step-by-step demonstrations. As well, it is easy to create activities that guide users through steps. For use of text instruction, this application is limited. Powerpoint has more options. However, there is no reason Captivate cannot be used in other markets. In Calgary, I know that Alberta Health Services and Shaw Communications both use Captivate in their training of staff. Captivate has received the CODiE Award for Best Corporate Learning Solution, a Business Software Satisfaction Award, and a Technology & Learning Award of Excellence.

Face 2. Offering

Captivate offers infrastructure. The software provides the tools for creating interactive content, simulations, and quizzes without the need for multimedia experience. Check out these websites for more information: and

Face 3. The buyer

Captivate is purchased for training. Although, this software can be purchased in K-12 or higher education situations, the type of learning is typically skill related and suites the training environment the most.

Face 4. Global markets

Captivates largest markets are the wired Anglophone countries and the Asian countries with quality Internet. However, the software’s trial version comes in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japenese, Korean, and Spanish. Abode products are available internationally and Adobe is a world leader in software development.

Face 5. Development of the market

I am not sure how to answer this one; however, I imagine , since this market is business driven, that it supports export oriented learning technologies and substitution of imports. In efforts to be more cost efficient, most businesses will import alternate training where applicable. As well, Captivate publishes in AICC and SCORM compliant files, allowing for export of content to various LMS. In my work, we are using Captivate to create training for patient care applications. The content being created has been exported to neighbouring health service teams using similar applications.

Face 6 . Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

Captivate is a very useful tool, but not the only tool available for creating interactive eLearning and simulation. With the advances in Web 2.0 tools, there are a number of alternate ways of communicating similar skills-related training. For example, Elluminate allows for demonstrations and slides; Lectora creates highly interactive modules using easily created variables and actions, and it has the capablility of containing video, animation, and graphics. WebEx demonstrations can be recorded and saved. The market is saturated with options, which is probably why Captivate is on version 4 and continuing to fight to be a market leader. Captivate tends to compete in the market as an Abode product and not as an individual product. Captivate can be purchased with Photoshop Elements, Premiere Pro, Flash, Illustrator, and various other products used in eLearning and corporate settings.

I use Captivate at work and I have found that there have been really amazing changes in this program from version 1 until now (ver.4). It is obvious that this product continues to improve in order to maintain a steady presence in the market place. Captivate is only a piece of Alberta Health Services training tools. We also use Corel Paintshop, Lectora, Flash, and MS Frontpage. I believe that Captivate serves a purpose and is a useful tool, but it could not satisfy all of our training needs.

Anyone else have experience with this software?

September 26, 2009   3 Comments

OLT Thoughts

I know I am bit late to post. I tend to agree with most of what everyone else says about the OLT pitch and Michelle Lamberson, so I will attempt to write something unique.

I didn’t feel that the video really did anything for Michelle Lamberson’s credibility. I felt that she seemed knowledgeable, but I didn’t really feel that I knew who she was from the video. I decided to search for more information. I found the following:

Michelle Lamberson is the Director, Learning Technology at The University of British Columbia. Her role, and the role of the Office of Learning Technology, is to provide campus-wide coordination and facilitation, linking units that are integrating technology to improve teaching and learning. Ongoing projects within UBC’s OLT include electronic portfolios, social software (weblogs, wikis), learning objects, understanding the impact of enterprise course management system use and web-enablement of scientific instrumentation. In addition to her learning technology role, she is currently teaching an online geology course. Michelle returned to UBC from WebCT in 2002, where she had worked for three years in a variety of roles related to training, event planning and best practice use of the system. Prior to that, she was the Faculty of Science EdTech Coordinator and geology lecturer at UBC. Michelle’s discipline area is Geology, receiving her degrees from UBC (PhD, 1993), Penn State (MS, 1987) and Boston University (BA, 1981). (

From this description, I would argue that Michelle Lamberson does have credibility. However, part of pitch is being able to sell yourself and an idea. I am not sure this was accomplished with this video.

Michelle Lamberson seems to have a clear concept of the role of OLT. She stresses that the OLT came from meetings with various UBC stakeholders who took part in a strategic planning process. Their objective is to collaborate learning technologies and create common ground between faculties. Interestingly, I took a course with Mark Bullen who seems to have a very different view of the conception of OLT. At the same time that the OLT was created, the Department of Distance Education and Technology was restructuring and planning to decentralize to the faculties. The creation of this office speaks to the central ‘hub’ that would support faculty initiatives; however, its arrival did not clearly address the issues of the duplication of support for LT in multiple central units. With DE&T and other central units, there was a need to remove duplication and create one group to facilitate

The cost efficiencies and need to create a consistent experience for learners was crucial. The concept was simple and necessary. It would be very easy to sell a pitch to remove redundancies to faculty heads and anyone involved in financial decisions.

September 20, 2009   3 Comments

Hello from Amy!

Hi everyone,

My name is Amy Frank. I live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband, two sons, and dog. We are actually expecting baby #3 at the end of this course! I started this program after having my first son, so it seems fitting that I will finish the program during my third sons first year. The beauty of this program is that I can actually have small children, be pregnant, work full-time, and still “attend” class. Love it. This is my ninth course. Due to the expected arrival of my third baby, I will be taking January to March off, so convocation will have to wait until Fall 2010.


My family (I am the only girl)

I am very excited about this course, as it seems to fit with my interests more than most of the other courses I have completed. Unlike many of you, I am not a formal teacher. My interests in learning technologies began when I was working for a market research company. I was looking for a change and, since I had HTML knowledge, they asked me to start designing training for our clients. In the beginning I only knew how to create basic web design and technical writing. I started taking continuing education courses through the University of Calgary and Mount Royal in online documentation and e-learning. I was hooked at that point. I was working with some well-known Fortune 500 companies, and my company was allowing me the flexibility and resources to make some changes to how we delivered our online training. Unfortunately, venture capatalist companies, like the one I was working for, tend to put money into the areas that are “hot” and demanded by clients. As soon as the economy changed and a couple clients decided to discontinue working with us, my team also stop receiving funding to make changes. This meant my fun ended. However, this is also when I found out about this program and found a new job. I am currently working for AlbertaHealth Services (previously the Calgary Health Region). I work as e-Learning Developer in the Patient Care Information Services department. We develop e-learning modules used to train clinical staff on the various patient care applications.  As the various regions merge, there is a push to align patient care applications and start developing provincial training platforms.  I am hoping this drive towards e-records will open more opportunities for our group. In the future, I hope to continue working in business.

When I am not working, I am spending time with my kids. I would like to say that I have a number of hobbies and activities going on,but with two kids, 3 and 1, with another on the way, I am just happy to sit on the couch for the last hour of the day. J I will get some hobbies in two – three years.

I look forward to this semester and having a chance to work with all of you!


September 10, 2009   1 Comment